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Sebastian Schunke: Genesis, Mystery And Magic

Mark Sullivan By

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German composer/pianist Sebastian Schunke continues on his unlikely Latin jazz path with Genesis, Mystery And Magic. The band is a blend of members of his Berlin quartet and New York City players. This album was recorded in Berlin, but Schunke studied in New York and has recorded there in the past—in some ways this session integrates all of his playing experiences better than anything in his prior discography.

The opener "Adelante" makes his case as a Latin jazz composer. Beginning with Nils Wogram's trombone and Pernell Saturnino's percussion—a classic combination—after Hans Glawischnig's bass joins in, Alex Sipiagin's trumpet and the leader's piano make an explosive entrance. The trumpet solo breaks things down to bass and percussion again, before the piano reenters and the rhythm section launches into double-time swing (powered by drummer Diego Pinera from Schunke's regular quartet). It's an exciting blend of Latin and mainstream jazz with an individual approach that is Schunke's own.

"Ella" (dedicated to Schunke's daughter) may be the hit of the album. Its memorable, song-like theme is initially stated by the piano with horn accompaniment. After a reflective piano solo the rhythm builds to a final horn arrangement of the theme. A catchy tune that is well served by the exciting arrangement. The program includes two introspective Interludes of unaccompanied piano, providing a break from the more elaborate pieces and showcasing the composer's more lyrical side. The final track is titled "Misterioso," but its Latin groove could never be confused with the Thelonious Monk tune of the same name. Maybe the mystery is how Schunke can be so completely at home with the Latin jazz idiom while still bringing his own creative approach to it.

Track Listing: Adelante; Song for Antje; Ella; Interlude 20_12; Metamorphosis; Rapsodia No. 2 "Deep;" Interlude 20_12; Misterioso.

Personnel: Sebastian Schunke — Compositions, Piano Alex Sipiagin — Trumpet, Flugelhorn Nils Wogram — Trombone Hans Glawischnig — Bass Diego Pinera — Drums Pernell Saturnino — Percussion

Title: Genesis, Mystery And Magic | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Nwog Records

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